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What Second-Hand Shopping Has Taught Me

Updated: Aug 2, 2023

By: Abby Rozens

I can embrace my individual style and escape the constraints of fast fashion by thrifting. It serves as a platform for my self-expression, allowing me to choose clothing that fits my uniqueness and creativity. It’s a way to be artistic with how I show myself without the constraints of high-end, custom fashion

Especially in the world of modeling, various projects and items are needed to fit a visual concept for shoots, especially when collaborating to produce a concept. As a college student, not only am I saving money by thrifting, but I get to explore my artistic side using the items I choose and show off to the world. It’s also a way to shop sustainably.

I have been thrifting with my family since I was a kid, but I didn’t really enjoy it until I turned 17. Around that time, I’d initially just go with my friends to take a quick look and go on my way, not knowing exactly what to buy. But as I started working on different projects and needing certain colors of pants or shoes, I realized it was a way to save money as a model.

Expenses do sometimes add up, especially considering many of these items are only used briefly for work. Is it worth it to buy a luxurious black heel or pricey brand item new from the store? Plus, what do you do with those new things when you’re “done” with them for modeling? Did you know that over 34 billion pounds of clothes are thrown out every year? Not even to be reused but to either be burned or in the trash?

The fashion industry has drawn criticism on fast-fashion for its effects on the environment and its unethical treatment of workers. The impacts of fast-fashion are becoming more widely known: toxic dyes, clothes falling apart easily, people getting hurt in the manufacturing process, and so many more concerns. This is why shopping can sustainably make a difference and create a better environment. Not only models but anyone can help the industry move toward more ethical and environmental methods by adopting thrift. Thrift shops promote the reuse and upcycling of clothing, which reduces waste and the need for additional manufacturing. Society is becoming more fluid in what we perceive as “fashion” than just buying the most luxurious brand name item, and thrifting is a simple, accessible way for fashion and style to evolve.

The beauty of thrifting also helped me develop my own sense of personal style, since it’s easy to experiment with different eras, styles, and trends. Through thrift shopping, people may create a look, or what we call on social media, an “aesthetic” that truly reflects their likes, creating a unique and bold fashion statement. I have become interested in having a more “model-off duty style” for work and fun. Plus I love finding vintage pieces!

There are vintage pop-ups and festivals all over. Usually, they’re full of vintage-clothing lovers like me! There are so many people who love to be a part of reusing and finding hidden gems. This is what makes vintage clothing appealing –an appreciation for what has been done in the past that others enjoy now, so there is no need to support mass production. Vintage clothing fascinates fashion fans like me for a variety of reasons, including nostalgia, how much history it has, and the chance for self-expression and a distinctive style. What makes these events so special is people's admiration for fine craftsmanship, desire for eco-friendly design options, and excitement while looking for one-of-a-kind treasures. Photographer: Alex Callejo

My life now revolves around thrifting, a hobby that never gets old and gives me great joy. It is the result of adventure, self-expression flexibility, sustainability, and affordability.

I love embracing a fusion of fashion, history, and uniqueness to my everyday look! Hence shopping sustainably.Thrifting gives people the chance to create a memorable personal brand and share a distinctive narrative. This conveys an individuality. One thing that I learned as a model is that every person in this business, whether that is a client, casting director, or scout, is not looking for continuous copies of the same person but someone who expresses their real self, and what makes them different. I used to think that if I act “perfect,” and dress in a certain way that would be the key to getting me noticed… big hard no. It wasn’t until I started dressing comfortably that I actually got the attention of the judges. Now, I do this by tastefully incorporating thrifted goods. Some great places to look for can be Savers, Goodwill, Plato’s Closet, and so many more second-hand chain stores or small businesses in your area.

The popularity of used clothing has accelerated the expansion of not only second-hand shopping in person but also online thrifting. Which I also take part in all the time if I need specific pieces that I cannot seem to find in the stores. I’ve taken part in purchasing, and selling my old clothing online using apps like Depop, Mercari, and Instagram! If you haven’t done this before, I recommend trying it–it is honestly so much fun!

Overall, I am ecstatic that I have shared so much love and information about thrifting. As a model, it has been really beneficial to me and has allowed me to convey how I want to be seen by the general public. My life now revolves around thrifting, a hobby that never gets old and gives me great joy. It is the result of adventure, self-expression flexibility, sustainability, and affordability. My personal journey enables me to share, recognize individuality, and encourage mindful consumerism.

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